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Human and Community Development: Positive Youth Development


A significant portion of New Jersey youth are at substantial risk for negative outcomes: poor health, substance abuse, teenage pregnancy, school failure, abuse, neglect, crime, violence. Poverty multiplies risk factors. Youth need to be in environments where they have opportunities to acquire the basic skills they need to become responsible family members, participants in the work force and contributing citizens. Youth need knowledge, skills, and behaviors to lead fulfilling lives.


When environments include sustained opportunities for young people to gain a sense of belonging, independence, mastery and generosity, youth can: master skills to make positive life choices; effectively contribute to decision-making and act responsibly; and positively influence their communities and beyond. Ongoing and caring relationships with adults are essential to positive youth development. Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension will meet local needs through Rutgers Cooperative Extension county faculty and staff, while participating in regional and state-wide programs focusing on positive youth development in key subject matter areas, as well as universal issues including Essential Elements (life skill development), Experiential Education, Youth /Adult Partnerships, and Volunteer Development and Leadership. Extension specialists and NJAES researchers will provide leadership and support to county faculty and staff in related programming.

Expected Outcomes

Short Term

Individuals will gain awareness, knowledge, skills related to:

Medium Term

Educated youth and adult clientele, both professional and residential, will utilize their newly gained knowledge and skills to implement and make changes such as:

Long Term